The Walking Dead – ‘The Other Side’ Review

“You’re one of the good things in this world.”

Another week, another episode that divides opinion. The reason for this, as far as I can tell, is this episode’s focus on Rosita and Sasha. And the fact that there are very few walkers being stabbed and shot in this episode. For a (unfortunately large) minority of the fan base this show is about gore! Not dialogue and character development! Pfft!

To be fair to those few who are unhappy, before this episode no one would have wanted to watch an episode in which half of the run time is devoted entirely to Rosita and Sasha. But they both come away from this episode as very compelling characters. Rosita opening up to Sasha finally gives her character that much needed third dimension. Since she was introduced she was nothing more than an accessory to Abraham, only feeling like she was there a lot of the time because she was in the comic and had to be there. Her comic book counterpart wasn’t great either. But now she’s getting some really good stuff to do and it’s another case of the show improving on missed opportunities from the comics. The conversation she has with Sasha about how she knew she was no good in the new world, and she used what she had to learn all the new skills, was really great. A lot of people questioned where she got the skill to disarm bombs and she explains that too. She moved around and hooked up with different guys, letting them protect her as she quietly picked up all of their knowledge before moving on. She is a lot more capable than she has been given credit for.

Rosita and Sasha

Abraham was not like that though. Rosita really cared for Abraham and now regrets not telling him she wasn’t angry when he left her. To add a slight bit of awkwardness to proceedings, it was Sasha he ran off with and it’s now Sasha she’s thrown her lot in with. Sasha gets some development this episode but to be fair she was miles ahead of Rosita already in that department.

This episode really delivers the closure for Abraham’s death. It was a death with no purpose or point to it, the exact opposite of what Abraham wanted. It feels like the writer’s are admitting that yes, the death was annoying and it was frustrating to see such a strong character go out like that. But that was the point! Abraham was perhaps the toughest character and wanted his death to mean something or be for something. But it wasn’t and it never will be, and that is destroying Sasha. I really like how Sasha tells Rosital she “was happy”. For her there was a before Abraham’s death and an after, there is no coming back for her now. This really puts the plan into perspective. The two of them will never kill Negan but they have to try. Rick is doing it his way but Rosita and Sasha are still hurting over what Negan did and want vengeance. In a real world I reckon this is a very realistic response. There are always impulsive people who think things are working too slowly and want a quicker result, no matter the consequences. Sasha and Rosita think they have the skills to take him down. So why wouldn’t they try to?

Jesus and Maggie

For an episode in which some people said not a lot happened, a lot seemed to happen. This episode was mainly about tying up loose ends. We have the closure to Abraham’s death and we also have Daryl being forced to talk to Maggie about Glenn. We haven’t seen the two of them have a conversation since Glenn died. As the two of them hide in the basement at the Hilltop to avoid Simon and the Saviors, Maggie lets Daryl know that it isn’t his fault for what Negan did to Glenn. Now if you blame Daryl or not, I’m betting there wasn’t one single fan didn’t feel at least a little devastated to see him begin to break down. Was it his fault? Well Maggie doesn’t blame him and neither would Glenn. That’s all that matters.

Jesus is quickly taking his rightful place as Maggie’s right hand man, the position he holds in the comics. Also he’s gay. Which I’m happy to say isn’t presented as a big deal, he just is. The show has a history of having quite a few badass LGBT characters with Aaron and Tara and now our very own kung-fu messiah. In this episode the relationship between Gregory and Jesus is under strain and perhaps finally broken at the end. Gregory will not be in power much longer and the sooner Maggie takes over, the better. And with Jesus at her side she would be an excellent leader.

Speaking of the weasel-y leader of The Hilltop, Gregory gets a lot of screen time this episode. As a huge fan of Xander Berkeley’s performance this is fine by me. Dressed in his suit and strolling around the Barrington House he almost resembles a slimy plantation owner. Like the others he’s not happy with the way the Saviors are treating The Hilltop, the difference is he doesn’t do anything about it and his concerns are about his own position as leader and not for the safety of the community.

Simon and Gregory

The main Savior causing all this trouble is Simon. He is a lot like Negan, in that he is the worst kind of evil but is also weirdly likeable. Or weirdly watchable at the very least. He also seems to know how crazy his situation is, see his reaction to the lady they found who can make ice cream. He’s horrible and he knows it, but hey it’s the end of the world. His interactions with Gregory are great but also uncomfortably tense as they are both overly friendly with one another. He’s come to The Hilltop to get Doctor Carson after the the other Doctor Carson (his brother) was roasted in the furnace by Negan. This practice of forcing people to help against their will is nothing new for the Saviors, but this time it’s worse. Maggie is going to need Carson around when the baby comes.

People saying this episode is filler need to learn what the word means. This episode serves a huge purpose to advance the stories of these characters and tie up the arcs of a few of them (sorry Sasha, your odds aren’t great). It wasn’t the most fast paced episode but the character interactions were good.

The Walking Dead has always had parallels to Lost in my eyes. Increasingly complicated story about survival with a huge cast of characters in a dangerous world, with very vocal fans. There was a point in Lost where the show didn’t seem to know where it was going, then it got past that. That’s where we are with The Walking Dead I hope. The groundwork has been laid out for the up coming war and now all the final pieces and being put into place. This episode tied up a lot of the loose ends before that point.

Only two episodes left! The gang heads to Oceanside next week. Hopefully they don’t end up killing everyone. But have some faith and believe in Rick Grimes.

Reviewed by Jack.

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